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Why do individuals and communities think and behave in the way they do?
Sociology is the study of people and their lifestyles.
We consider big questions about the nature of society. Is it basically a positive thing, working a bit like a human body with all different parts serving a purpose? Is it inherently unfair?
Sociologists often study society on a large scale; the process of globalisation for example. There are global brands and companies which people recognise all over the planet. Is this a good thing - showing how the whole world is modernising? Or is it just about rich companies exploiting their poorly paid workers?
We also look at the smallest unit of society, the family. Is marriage on the way out? Do divorce rates prove this, or just show that people expect more of their marriages and are not settling for second best? Are women naturally motherly and emotionally supportive, or do our families often exploit them?
Head of Department
Mr B White
Mrs J Bridgland
Topic 1: Education and Sociological Methods: The study of our educational system; role and function; reasons for variation in outcome by class, gender, and ethnicity; relationships in schools; pupil identity and subcultures; the significance of educational policies.
Topic 2: Topics in Sociology: Families and Households: Sociological perspectives on family types, socialisation, relationships and gender roles ; changing patterns in marriage and divorce; demographic changes to family life; the impact of social policy; childhood; the life course.
Topic 3: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods: The study of the sociological perspectives; differences in crime and deviance owing to gender, age, class, ethnicity and location; global crime; human rights and state crimes, crime control, prevention and punishment and the role of the criminal justice system and the sociological explanations for suicide. Students also study key debates in Sociology such as: Are we living in a postmodern world? Is Sociology a science? Is Sociology value-free?
Topic 4: The Relationship between Rich and Poor Nations in the World: The study of the sociological perspectives and arguments of: the concept of development; globalisation; aid and trade; the role of transnational corporations, aid agencies and international agencies; development in relation to: war and conflict, the environment, industrialisation, education, health, gender, population change.
Assessment, Marking and Feedback
Paper One: Education and Theory and Methods (2 hours)
Paper Two: Topics in Sociology: Families and Households and Global Development (2 hours)
Paper Three: Crime and Deviance with Theory and Methods (2 hours)
There is no coursework.
- In Sociology, students are assessed against levels of attainment throughout each unit of study and in any terminal pieces by their teacher. Students are made aware of the way in which answers are marked, and are provided with a range of example questions, student answers, and info on the ‘levelling’ of essays throughout the course.
- Essays are marked using the targeted feedback system (below and displayed in the classroom). The majority of essays will be returned with the expectation (with lesson time provided) that students will respond to their essay feedback and take time to make specific improvements.
- As it is important that students gain the skill of essay writing, through regular practice, at times feedback will be ‘streamlined’ to allow a higher frequency of essays to be set and returned.
All marked essays will have:
- A clear level and mark
- At least two specific improvement points
- This occurs at least twice per short term.
Essay feedback will often include:
- An example answer drawn from the class (with permission from student involved)
- A list of key topics/ideas that could be included in a top quality answer. This may be created by the class prior to the setting of an essay, or could be provided when marked essays are returned as an aid to improvement and revision
- If a skill has been focussed upon, highlighting of this skill in the student’s own essay (e.g. key Sentence, extended explanation, clear and focussed evaluative comment etc.)
- A formative or celebratory comment
- Verbal feedback in the form of one-to-one discussion.
Essays are returned within the school policy of two weeks. Generally, they are returned earlier than this to allow students to improve them when still fresh in their memory.
Feedback is provided in relation to the essay guidance and level descriptors which can be found here
- Other homework – note-taking, reading exercises, revision resource creation etc. is marked either in lesson, or if appropriate will be taken in by the teacher to ensure a clear understanding of each student’s progress is gained, and formative comments are given where necessary
- Short exam questions will also be checked and returned, either in lesson or collected in and marked
- Where appropriate ‘positive events’ are awarded for high quality essays, clear improvement, detailed notes or revision material, or excellent contributions to lesson activity
- Grades are not currently given, but the AQA level, and mark will be provided. Grades will be given for mock exams
- Grades are indicated through the report cycle - currently three times a year.
Please click here for the AQA A Level Sociology specification
The exam formats can be found here
Students are all provided with a pack of past questions and example questions to use when preparing for the exam. We recommend that students focus their revision both on reviewing key content and practising how to apply this to exam style questions. To help with this, we have developed a bank of likely questions which can be found here
Please click here for the AQA A Level Sociology past papers
Useful external links
The British Sociological Association website contains useful information such as university courses, career options and other sociology websites which may be of interest.